In our school, we refer to ‘key stage three’ as The Wonder Years. We recognise that these are exciting years for our pupils. Before long, they will be saying goodbye to several subjects as they narrow their focus for GCSE. Before they do this we want them to experience the richness that each subject has to offer: the best of what has been thought and said. We believe that our pupils should have the opportunity to acquire deep knowledge in each of the subject disciplines and we see Year 9 as the year in which pupils will achieve the greatest depth in subjects they may well come to miss as adults.
As teachers, we have considered very carefully the purpose of our curriculum and together we have written this description of our curriculum and its intentions:
Our knowledge-rich curriculum will empower young people to succeed in a competitive world.
In support of our knowledge-rich curriculum, we are currently working on developing ‘knowledge organisers’ to accompany each unit of work. We have, this half term, launched our first batch of knowledge organisers with Year 9 and expect to be ready to launch with the other year groups in January 2018.
In the table below, you can see the spread of the curriculum in years 7-9. We have included information on how we group the pupils because we find that parents are keen to understand the rationale for our groupings.
We try to make decisions that are informed by evidence, but sometimes there is conflicting evidence! For example, we know that the most able pupils benefit slightly when they are taught in classes grouped by ability. We also know that ability grouping does not always benefit mid-range and low attaining pupils. For pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities, it is important that they have opportunities to learn alongside pupils who do not have these challenges. We try to make balanced and ethical decisions and so we have ensured that there are opportunities for all pupils to work in a range of different groupings. Pupils are also grouped within the class, in a variety of ways, as best suits the activity. For example, pupils might work in mixed ability pairs for a discussion task and another time they might work on different tasks in groups based on their prior attainment.
We take great care to ensure that each form group brings together the full range of different learners.
Lessons for Pupils in years 7-9
|English||6||Pupils are grouped by prior attainment.|
|Science||6||Pupils are taught in form groups in Year 7 and then grouped by prior attainment from Year 8.|
|History||3||Classes mirror the English groupings.|
|RE||2||Pupils are taught in form groups.|
|French||3||In Year 9, pupils specialise in one language and continue to benefit from 6 language lessons per week.|
|Design and Food Technology||4||DT regroups the pupils into smaller, mixed prior attainment groups.|
|Computing||2||Pupils are taught in form groups.|
|PE||4||PE is taught separately to girls and boys and pupils are regrouped accordingly.|
* We operate a two-week timetable and so these lessons are spread across a fortnight.